CSOs urge government to rethink climate change strategy

By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

Civil society organizations have urged the Philippine government to rethink its strategy on how to shift the climate talks towards concrete action.

A man takes a bath along Manila Bay in Pasay to beat the summer heat. (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN) A man takes a bath along Manila Bay in Pasay to beat the summer heat. (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

This after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced that the agency will no longer send participants to climate change dialogues abroad.

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Instead, the country will “just vote yes to any radical proposals.”

“And not actually participating is not going to help the big emitters change their game towards more favourable actions for affected countries,” Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) national coordinator Yolanda Esguerra said.

Disaster Risk Reduction Network Philippines (DRRNetPhils) lead convener Loreine dela Cruz expressed surprise, considering the wins and the coming together of all government agencies along with civil society organizations and private sector in the last Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction held in Geneva, Switzerland last May.

“The participation of the government in climate talks and the inclusion of this in their programming is even more important now more than ever, the Philippines being the one of the most vulnerable and in the frontline affected by climate impacts,” Dela Cruz said.

She added that in the global level, the Philippine delegation has always been proactive in disaster risk reduction and climate change initiatives, having two laws that support participatory process and localized actions as response to the country’s vulnerability in both climate and weather-related hazards.

Esguerra shared that the CSOs are always active in advocating the climate targets in the global arena, with the Philippines being one of the signatory of the Paris Agreement. But the support of the government in these global dialogues has always been seen a strong point in these negotiations.

“The progress in these dialogues has been slow, but reducing the pressure by not attending will not direct these talks into action. We support the Climate Change Commission and CSOs on maintaining our stand that we have no other option but to act and continue with our global participation,” she added.